The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Track earns All-American honors

    The Blugold track teams earned one All-American award and barely missed another at the NCAA Div. III Track and Field Championships this weekend at UW-Oshkosh.

    The men’s distance medley relay team of senior Mike Mascitti and sophomores Rich Maleniak, James Larson and Sean Gavigan earned All-American honors with its sixth-place finish in 10 minutes, 7.57 seconds. Junior Kathy Thompson almost earned the award, placing seventh in the high jump.

    In the distance medley relay, Larson started the 1,200-meter leg of the relay and set an ambitious pace. Larson led the nine-team pack through 400 meters at 57 seconds, but the brisk pace took its toll as he faded to eighth place by the time he handed the baton to Mascitti for the 400-meter leg of the race.

    “I wanted to get us the lead,” Larson said. “I had it, but then I lost it.”

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    “It wasn’t the prettiest DMR we ever ran, but we got it done,” he said.

    Larson was not pleased with his 3:08 split. He said that if he had run 3:04 like he did earlier this season the team could have won the national title. Luther College (Iowa) won the race in 10:04.88.

    Mascitti maintained the eighth position with his 51-second 400 and was slowed a little when he was tripped up while attempting to pass an opponent.

    Gavigan received the baton next and made up ground on the competition as he ran 1:53 for 800 meters. He was as high as fifth place, but handed the baton to Maleniak in sixth.

    Maleniak ran a season-best 4:15 for his split in the final 1,600 meters and held off a late surge by Jesse Drake of Stevens Point. Eau Claire earned the last All-American spot by .05 second over the Pointers.

    “I knew he was coming hard, but I didn’t realize he was that close,” Maleniak said.

    Mascitti said he was happy to be All-American, but that the team should have done better.

    “The time that won was slower than the time we ran earlier this year,” he said.

    Eau Claire’s team ran 10:04.60 on Feb. 17.

    In the high jump competition, Thompson’s leap of 5 feet, 5 1/4 inches equalled the leap of the fourth-place athlete, but more missed attempts dropped her to seventh.

    Thompson easily cleared her opening height, but missed twice at 5 feet, 3 1/4 inches. She also missed twice at 5 feet, 5 1/4 inches before clearing the bar on her final attempt.

    Erica DiStefano of the College of New Jersey won the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 9 1/4 inches.

    The track and field team will begin its outdoor season on March 31 at UW-Stout.

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    Track earns All-American honors